Local tech company taking donations for flood victims

A local technology education company has launched a donation drive to help flood victims of the Rio Grande Valley.

Nerdvana, described on its Facebook page as the “oasis of technology” in the Valley, began taking contributions June 29 for local residents affected by the June 20 and 21 flooding events.

Kayleigh Sommer, Nerdvana’s public relations manager, said she came up with the idea while observing the damages on social media during the storms that dumped more than 18 inches of rain and left certain parts of the Valley, especially the Mid-Valley, under several feet of water. Thousands sustained damage to their homes and vehicles as many had to be rescued from floodwaters.

First responders from multiple emergency and law enforcement agencies assisted in rescue attempts via boat and large vehicles; not to mention high water rescues.

“I was looking on social media and seeing all these flooding photos,” Sommer said. “I thought, ‘We have to do something.’”

While Nerdvana held the initial drive between June 29 and 30, Sommer said the company is still accepting donations and will continue to do so for at least two weeks.

The items being accepted include clothing, hygiene products, nonperishable food items, pet food, bedding and any other items flood victims might need. Sommer said monetary donations will not be accepted.

A Nerdvana news release issued on June 25 asked for community help in alleviating the burdens some people have faced after the “recent devastation due to flooding.”

“We want to collect as much as we can to give to people whom have lost so much,” Sommer stated in the release. “Valley, we have your back.”

The donations will likely go to the areas that were hit hardest, such as Weslaco. Sommer said she plans on reaching out to the Red Cross or a similar relief organization to coordinate exactly who will receive the donations.

Sommer said while the drive does not involve technology, it still relates to Nerdvana’s mission of contributing and giving back to the community.

“The people of the Valley have been so generous to us and working with us, and this is how we want to help them,” Sommer said. “It broke my heart seeing all those photos of people walking through several feet of water … The people here have been so great to us, so we need to be great back.”

Sommer said because Nerdvana was founded and based in the Valley, the entire company shares her sentiments about needing to provide relief, adding: “We’re all a product of the Valley.”

Nerdvana hosts after-school programs, in-class experiences, weekend excursions and summer programs as a way of challenging students “to use tech to expand their world,” according to its Twitter page. Technology such as drones, virtual reality and robotics are used during these experiences.

Although the company is hosting a variety of summer camps for local youth, kids participating in Nerdvana’s programs are not taking or distributing the donations on behalf of the organization. Sommer also said Nerdvana is not seeking volunteers.

Donations can be dropped off any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. over the next few weeks at 3406 W. Alberta Road. To drop off donations before or after hours, make arrangements by emailing [email protected] Call (956) 393-9927 for more information.

Donations can be dropped off at:

WHEN: 9 .am. to 4 p.m. daily

WHERE: Nerdvana, 3406 W. Alberta Road, Edinburg

CONTACT: [email protected] or call (956) 393-9927 for more information.